Yesterday morning I was not very impressed when builders turned up to do some work for the freeholder in her empty flat. They had already been there all day on Saturday and then turned up at 9am on a Sunday morning. I phoned the freeholder at about 9.20am to ask if they were going to be there all day, as I was so unimpressed that they were that at all during a weekend. The freeholder was confused, as she was under the impression that all they had left to do was to put in the cooker – and they had also been asked not to do any work at weekends. Her husband was going to come over later in the day to see what was going on, but I went out at lunch time so have no idea if he did.
I have been interested in the discussions about Nick Griffin and his appearance on Question Time. I think it was fine that he was on the programme, but that it shouldn’t have been quite so focussed on him and he should have been able to show his true colours (do you see what I did there?) on a range of issues i.e. that his party lacked any policies beyond anything on race and immigration. Anyway, the whole furore reminded me of something I read in the book Freakonomics, which explained part of the downfall of the Ku Klux Klan*. Basically in the 1934s a man called Stetson Kennedy infiltrated the Klan and by way of radio broadcasts gave away their ‘secrets’ thus destroying its ‘mystery’ and making it a bit of a laughing stock. He supplied to secrets to Hollywood writers who then used them as part of the plots for the Superman radio programme broadcasts, which children listened to. The children then re-enacted these scenes in their playground games and it helped to undo the power of the Klan and people were embarrassed to be associated with it. I am sure that is a very simplistic summary of what really happened and there were likely to be a number of other factors as well, but there is a part of me that thinks that maybe not taking the party too seriously might actually be the what could bring about its downfall. This is not the same as not seeing the threat it could pose. But laughing at something, rather than treating it like an enemy to be defeated – which surely puffs it up and makes it feel stronger and a force to be reckoned with - is potentially a better way to bring about its demise. Just a thought…
As a minor aside on another matter – that of the Jan Moir/ Stephen Gately furore – if you want to read a really good take on the shallowness of journalists of that ilk, you should read “What a Carve Up” by Jonathan Coe. One of the characters is a really brilliant satire on that type of journalism. It is also a very good book and worth reading anyway.
*I can’t quite recall how this bit of the book had anything to do with economics, but we will brush over that.
London’s weekly railway news #231
20 hours ago